Fun, Indoor Activities for Kids 

By Tracey Dowdy

Now that the colder weather is here, it’s even more challenging to keep our littles entertained or help them to find creative – screen-free – ways to entertain themselves. Encouraging their creativity and imagination is more than a way to keep them busy for a few minutes. Creative thinking develops problem-solving skills, spurs innovation, promotes taking initiative, and spans careers and vocations. It’s a life long skill that will carry them far. 

Here are a few ideas for inspiration the next time you hear, “I’m bored!”

Build a blanket fort. I know, I know, it makes a mess and you’re the one who has to fold all those dang blankets when they’re done, but help your kids to see it’s not just a bunch of blankets. It’s a tree fort, a spaceship, a cave, or even another planet. Not only that, they make great places to curl up with a good book, protect Lego creations from pesky little siblings, or sketch in peace. 

Paint a picture. Again, I KNOW that it can get messy, but the fact that it’s a rare treat to paint means your littles will be very excited and more likely to be engaged for more than five minutes. 

Create a time capsule. 2020 has been a wild ride, so have them collect things or make a list of the things that they loved most, absolutely hated, and what made them happy over the past year. Have them include their favorite TV shows, movies, books, games, or even their favorite outfit. No need to bury in the backyard unless you want to – it’s just as much fun to tuck it into the back of a closet or top-shelf. Pull it out this time next year and reminisce over all that happened. 

Have them learn a TikTok dance or choreograph one of their own. Not only does it spark creativity, but they’re also getting a little exercise in and getting out some of that restless energy. 

Have them put on a play or shoot a movie. Have them write their own script or act out a favorite book. They could write a sequel to a favorite story or write an origin story for a favorite character. They can shoot the movie on a phone, tablet, or iPad and both Apple and Android have simple video editing software. 

Play with your food. Cook together, do a blind taste test, and see if they can guess the food or flavor – highly recommend parental supervision on that one – or make pictures or necklaces with pasta like you did in elementary school. 

Plant some seeds. You don’t need fancy gardening supplies or even a packet of seeds. Teach your kids how to grow herbs, fruits, and vegetables from the produce you buy at the supermarket. All you need is inexpensive potting soil and an egg carton, and the scraps from plants like peppers, onions, celery, mint, dill, or even potatoes and pineapples. This is also a lesson in patience and responsibility as they tend and watch their plants grow and mature over the next several weeks.

Go old school. Break out the board games you used to play as a child – Chutes and Ladders, Sorry, Scrabble, Clue, Pretty Pretty Princess, Twister, Battleship, Candyland…or, find a new favorite like Cataan Jr, Feed the Woozle, or Wild Kratts Race Around the World. Or, skip board games and play hide and seek, tic tac toe, or monkey in the middle with a Nerf or other soft ball. 

Let them “redecorate” their room. I’m not suggesting you hand over your credit card and set them loose on Pottery Barn’s website, but moving their bed or desk to a different wall, or changing up the art work on the walls can make the space feel fresh and new. Have them cut out snowflakes and tape them to their windows or hang them from the ceiling. Or, give them a stack of magazines and let their inner designer come out as they cut out pictures of their dream house. 

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.